Honesty about “Orientation Change”

Only the truth can set anyone free.

When I was twenty-one, I talked with a pastor about my sexuality for the first time. It was the pastor of my parents’ Southern Baptist Church, and in the course of our conversation, he told me about a man in the church who had been gay, but now was married and had children. He presented this as what I could hope for if I, too, pursued marriage.

However, I happened to know his wife’s side of the story. They had been married eleven years. During that entire time, he had been addicted to gay porn, and was regularly unfaithful to her on business trips. All this was going on during the height of the AIDS epidemic, before any effective treatments had been discovered. After years of forgiving repeated—and potentially deadly—infidelities, she was seeking a divorce. The pastor knew of this, because he insisted that as a Christian wife, it was her duty to keep forgiving her husband, and “not to deprive him” of his “conjugal rights”—despite the potentially deadly consequences.

In other words, a Christian pastor, who knew that this man had been cheating on his wife on a regular basis for over a decade, lied to my face and presented this man’s life as a success story, with the specific goal of encouraging me to pursue a similar path.

I thought of this experience last fall, when I heard a presentation by the leader of a prominent ex-gay ministry,* speaking to a group of undergraduates. While many things could be said about that presentation, I want to focus on only one: the speaker claimed—citing statistics from Masters and Johnson—that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation had a 65% “success rate.”

I want to make several points.

First, anyone who has read very many studies about human sexuality will know that it is difficult to get reliable data. Different studies often report quite different results. Scientific studies of human sexuality are thus very different from, for example, scientific measurements of the distance from the earth to the sun. Using a variety of different methodologies, astronomers provide very precise and consistent measurements of this distance. On the other hand, when we are dealing with sexuality, the numbers vary significantly from study to study. This does not mean that the numbers are useless. But you have to approach the results with a lot more caution.

With that in mind, it’s worth comparing Masters and Johnson’s findings with the much more recent and more comprehensive study by Stanton Jones of Wheaton College and Mark Yarhouse of Regent University. Jones and Yarhouse’s reported “success rate” was dramatically lower—just over a third of that reported by Masters and Johnson.

In 2009 Jones and Yarhouse presented the final results of their 10-year study, “Ex Gays? An Extended Longitudinal Study of Attempted Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation” [pdf] at the American Psychological Association’s annual conference. In their study, based on long-term follow-up with participants in Exodus ministries, they found that 23% of the participants claimed to have experienced “substantial reductions in homosexual attraction and substantial conversion to heterosexual attraction and functioning” (p. 7). Jones and Yarhouse note, however, that

while we found that part of our research population experienced success to the degree that it might be called (as we have here) “conversion,” our evidence does not indicate that these changes are categorical, resulting in uncomplicated, dichotomous and unequivocal reversal of sexual orientation from  utterly homosexual to utterly heterosexual. Most of  the individuals who reported that they were heterosexual at T6 did not report themselves to be without experience of homosexual arousal, and they did not report their heterosexual orientation to be unequivocal and uncomplicated. (p. 10).

Let’s return to Masters and Johnson. Their claims about sexual orientation change were made in their 1979 book, Homosexuality in Perspective. Here is how a Time Magazine article described the claims when the book came out (emphasis added):

Between 1968 and 1977 the researchers treated, for various sexual problems, 151 homosexuals, including 54 men and 13 women who wanted to convert or revert to heterosexuality. M & J do not list a success rate for such conversions, only a known failure rate. That failure rate is now at 35%, and is not expected to exceed 45% when all the five-year follow-ups are completed. For professional therapists, many of whom believe that such conversions are rare or impossible, this is likely to be the book’s most surprising statistic. It would mean that a permanent, or at least longterm, switch to heterosexuality is possible more than half the time among gays who are highly motivated to change. (See “Sexes: Masters & Johnson on Homosexuality: An exclusive preview of the famed sex researchers’ newest study.”)

If this report in Time is accurate (my university’s library does not have a copy of Homosexuality in Perspective, so I have not yet been able to verify this first-hand), the claim of a 65% success rate is derived from a source that does not list a success rate. Instead, the so-called “success rate” is obtained by subtracting the known failure rate. This means that, by reporting a 65% success rate, the ex-gay speaker presumes success in every case that is not known to be a failure. This is not a reliable statistical method.

It gets worse, however.

In 2009, Scientific American published an article by Thomas Maier, who wrote Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How To Love. In doing research for the biography, Maier found strong evidence that the sexual orientation change results published in Homosexuality in Perspective were based on problematic research:

Prior to the book’s publication, doubts arose about the validity of their [sexual orientation conversion] case studies. Most staffers never met any of the conversion cases during the study period of 1968 through 1977, according to research I’ve done for my new book Masters of Sex. Clinic staffer Lynn Strenkofsky, who organized patient schedules during this period, says she never dealt with any conversion cases. Marshall and Peggy Shearer, perhaps the clinic’s most experienced therapy team in the early 1970s, says they never treated homosexuals and heard virtually nothing about conversion therapy.

When the clinic’s top associate, Robert Kolodny, asked to see the files and to hear the tape-recordings of these “storybook” cases, Masters refused to show them to him. Kolodny—who had never seen any conversion cases himself—began to suspect some, if not all, of the conversion cases were not entirely true. When he pressed Masters, it became ever clearer to him that these were at best composite case studies made into single ideal narratives, and at worst they were fabricated. (From “Can Psychiatrists Really ‘Cure’ Homosexuality?“)

Young Christians struggling with same-sex attraction deserve to receive honest answers to their questions from Christian leaders.

The problem here is not just false hopes which are subsequently disappointed. If someone, mislead by overly optimistic promises of orientation change, gets married, the effects can be devastating. For example, according to a recent New York Times article,

Additional evidence that suggests that many gay men in intolerant states are deeply in the closet comes from a surprising source: the Google searches of married women. It turns out that wives suspect their husbands of being gay rather frequently. In the United States, of all Google searches that begin “Is my husband…,” the most common word to follow is “gay.” “Gay” is 10 percent more common in such searches than the second-place word, “cheating.” It is 8 times more common than “an alcoholic” and 10 times more common than “depressed.”

Searches questioning a husband’s sexuality are far more common in the least tolerant states. The states with the highest percentage of women asking this question are South Carolina and Louisiana. In fact, in 21 of the 25 states where this question is most frequently asked, support for gay marriage is lower than the national average.

Opposite-sex marriage is, I believe, a legitimate vocation for some same-sex attracted men and women. We have invited Kyle Keating and Melinda Selmys to share their experiences here at Spiritual Friendship because I think it’s important to keep this option on the table and give those who feel called to marriage the chance to hear from those who are farther down that road.

However, when Christians set up false expectations of change, and thus provide unrealistic pressure to marry, there are serious consequences.

First, when Christian culture believes that most same-sex attracted men and women can marry, there is a lot less support available to those who remain single. There’s also likely to be a lot more pressure to marry from family and well-meaning pastors. This pressure makes it more difficult for men and women who aren’t experiencing much change in attraction to be honest with themselves and those close to them about their lack of progress.

Ultimately, this pressure makes it more difficult for same-sex attracted Christians to be really honest with potential spouses, and increases the likelihood that those who are desperate to live up to unrealistic expectations from their family and their church will get married when they are not ready to do so.

I know that the speaker I listened to would not recommend this: he encouraged complete honesty before marriage. But if Christians encourage prospects of orientation change that are out of line with reality, they make it more difficult for struggling Christians to admit the reality of their struggles to pastors or potential spouses who have unrealistic expectations.

Young Christians in their late teens or early twenties who realize they’re attracted to their own sex face a difficult and often lonely process of discerning God’s calling. It’s important that we communicate honestly with them.

Regarding the prospects for marriage, two points need to be made.

The first is, as I mentioned earlier, that we still have a long way to go in understanding human sexuality. Sexual thoughts and behavior are private, and it’s not easy to find representative samples and get them to speak honestly about their experiences. At this point, different studies asking the same or similar questions can report quite different responses. We need to be honest with people that there’s a lot we don’t know here. Hopefully, as researchers continue to study these questions, our understanding will improve, and Christians coming of age a generation from now will have much better information than they have now.

Second, given this uncertainty, we need to be careful how we select the evidence to present. Is a 34-year-old study really the best research available? When we cite a statistic, have we checked for serious criticisms?** Given the variation in results already noted, how consistent are the numbers I’m quoting with other studies? If a speaker chooses an outlying result, what reason, beyond offering false hopes, does he have for believing that it is the best result? (In the case under discussion, it obviously can’t have been careful research on the relative merits of different studies; it took me less than 5 minutes on Google to find Thomas Maier’s critique of the Masters and Johnson study.)

There is both anecdotal and peer-reviewed evidence*** that some predominantly same-sex attracted persons—especially women—can fall in love with and have a meaningful and satisfying relationship with someone of the opposite sex. Although this is the minority experience, it is real, and Spiritual Friendship has presented this option along with our more frequent discussions of celibacy.

However, this evidence needs to presented realistically and responsibility. I could not, in good conscience, present the Master’s and Johnson study to young Christians who are trying to find God’s will. There are too many doubts, and I will not deceive those who are making life-altering decisions by offering them false hope.

Once again: only the truth will set us free.

Ron BelgauRon Belgau is completing a PhD in Philosophy, and teaches medical ethics, philosophy of the human person, ethics, and philosophy of religion. He can be followed on Twitter: @RonBelgau.

* This was a public presentation, and it would be perfectly fair for me to identify the speaker and his ministry by name. However, he is currently going through a family medical crisis. Out of consideration for this, I have chosen not to name him, because I do not want to add a public controversy to his current list of problems to worry about.

** I’ve cited the Jones and Yarhouse study to show that a more recent, and more comprehensive study by respected Christian researchers gives much less optimistic results than the Master’s and Johnson study; this does not mean I think Jones and Yarhouse is the gold standard; it, too, is open to criticism (see here or here, for example), and my more general point about uncertainty involving research on sexuality applies to the Jones and Yarhouse results, as well.

*** For a secular perspective on sexual fluidity, see Lisa Diamond’s “What Does Sexual Orientation Orient?” [pdf], originally published in Psychological Review.

26 thoughts on “Honesty about “Orientation Change”

  1. Thank you and well said. I’m afraid that the current group of replacement ministries for Exodus have reverted to Exodus early promises of change. As far as I can see in Scripture God has never promised us healing from anything other than our spiritual separation from Him.

    It is dangerous to give people such false hope and then when they don’t see change they not only are discouraged by that but they become discouraged with their faith.

  2. Dear Ron,

    Hi. I’m a 29 years old graduate student. Could I send you a private e-mail? I would like to have your opinion on a subject closely related to the one you discussed on this post.

    Thank you very much.

    Peace,
    Mateus

  3. Enjoyed your article!

    However, as I read through it, I kept thinking about those of us who have fully come out of our homosexuality. More specifically I think about how I no longer am attracted to the same gender. How my attractions are now to the opposite gender.

    It did not happen overnight though how much more wonderful it would have been not to go through the years of struggle.

    I did not go to a therapist. I can not speak to ‘ex-gay ministries’ therapies or counseling groups who provide therapy because I have never participated in it. Though most times I am accused of being an ex-gay ministry when I am not.

    My change came about through hearing the Truth and it set me free.

    I attended a loving church in Las Vegas. They accepted me just as I was, a self identifying lesbian butch. And yes, it was a Southern Baptist Church. It still is! They did not argue with about my homosexuality. They told me my argument was with God not with them. Something I tell folks who argue with me these days. It is God’s word and His design which states that homosexuality was not what He intended for us.

    The Southern Baptist church in Las Vegas accepted me just as I was . . . they embraced me with the love they had received, the love of Jesus Christ. They introduced me to Jesus not to heterosexuality. In a year’s time I accepted Jesus into my life and then that is where the struggle began. For two years God and I argued about His making me a lesbian. How could He do that if it was wrong, if He did not intend it to be so?

    Then the scales fell off my eyes and I realized that yes, homosexuality was a sin against God’s created order and I repented of it, I turned away from it.

    But just because I turned away from it did not mean the same gender attractions were no longer there. They were there and stronger than ever before.

    Again, I did not go to anyone but God with the temptations of the attractions. Each time I felt attracted to another woman I gave it to God. I asked Him to help me understand what was causing the attraction. I guess you could say God was my therapist. The church family was just that, my family who loved me just as I was.

    Their acceptance healed many emotional needs. God’s word and our years long discussion on my attractions were my counseling . . .

    I came to Christ in 1995, turned from homosexuality in 1997, and in 2003 the same gender attractions dissipated. Then the attractions to men surfaced fully.

    Folks do successfully come out of their homosexuality. My successfully leaving homosexuality is not unique. However, I believe we will never have any honest stats on it all.

    I know many folks like myself who also have left homosexuality with God being their only therapist. But, they are not speaking up because they are ashamed of their homosexual experience.

    Folks like myself will never be counted in stats because we never went to see a therapist. Many times I have volunteered to participate in testimonies or speak at congressional hearings. Testifying to the matter of folks coming out of homosexuality. However, because I never went to therapy they did not want to use my story.

    I think it is kind of ironic don’t you?

    I can not give you a reference because I doubt there is one yet I am quite confident to say that there are more of us who have successfully left homosexuality than there are who currently identify as gay or lesbian.

    Yes, the truth set me free . . . <

    • Glad to see you posting here Charlene, I have followed you in the past, and visited your site Bridging the Gap Ministries. One of the things I appreciate that you said once but I can’t find the specific reference for it, now, was when you explained how you dealt with your same sex attractions. If my memory serves me correctly you said that when you felt an attraction to a woman you would bring that attraction to Jesus and ask him to show you what it was ‘about that woman’ which attracted you to her ie; the good and positive aspect of it and to replace that need or fulfil it. So forgive me if my memory is not exact but I took from what you said that it is beneficial to be realistic about our attractions and see the humanity and wonderful qualities in the woman we may be attracted to rather than ‘sexualizing’ her. I think in this respect even straight people can benefit from the practice of transforming their desires for the ‘one they cannot have’ into honorable ones.

      Yet those who are same sex attracted can still suffer from a dissonance even when practising a disciplined approach. The desires of the flesh are not always overcome in the manner you have described, Jesus, may instead…help us find a way out… but the desires may not come to an end. I agree that if our pursuit of same sex relationships was all about our emotional wounds from childhood then Jesus can heal that; and if our pursuit of sexual fulfilment was all about lust, pornography and excitement then Jesus can break those chains. But it is more complex when we realize our sexuality is woven into our desires for romance, companionship and unconditional love. For those who are not necessarily broken emotionally by their past relationship with their same sex parent or who are not addicted to sex and porn they may not find themselves being healed or changed. They may experience same sex attraction as a persistent orientation. Do you think that we as Christians can exist alongside each other- those of us who have experienced change whether completely or slightly and those of us who have not? Is there a way to bridge that gap?

    • I’m happy for you. However I must say I have known two women who had been in long term same-sex relationships who also shifted and got happily married to men. Neither switch had anything to do with religion. There seems to be a subgroup of women who have some fluidity in their orientation.

    • I think you have to remember that some gay people may be to varying degrees attracted to the opposite sex. There are likely more people with varying degrees of bisexuality than there are people who are 100% gay or straight. You also have to look at the hundreds or thousands of people who have attempted to change their orientation and failed, often with terrible consequences for them, their friends and their families. Personal stories are one thing but scientific studies with all of their flaws are one of the best tools we have to help point us in the right direction. There are too many variables that remain unidentified in merely anecdotal evidence

  4. I am a same-sex attracted male who was happily married to a woman for 14 years until her death. She was precisely the only woman to whom I was ever attracted in that way, and I loved her dearly. I had joined a Pentecostal/holiness church and firmly believed that my experience of “sanctification” had removed the homosexuality from me, and others around me, including my wife, also thought that. It was not true, and the repressed longings in me did indeed cause problems in our marriage, and tensions had begun to grow when she was diagnosed with cancer. All that became irrelevant in the necessity to devote everything to her care.

    All I have to say out all of that is that, had I (and others) been able to face this all honestly and openly, we would likely have had the help we did not get and could not seek. I’ve spent the 20 years since her passing trying to make sense of it all, and trying to find ways to be helpful to other Christian gays. My experience of a few years with an Exodus related group left me with an impression of a well-intended ineffectiveness. What is needed is somehow to deal with what is, and to find out what it is that God intends to do with us who are so constituted.

  5. I largely agree with this article. Sexuality seems to be fairly fluid for women, more so than men but it is also fluid in men given the right support. I am an evangelical and the way change is understood, packaged and communicated in the church, particularly by straight evangelical pastors is often terribly inaccurate both because of their complete lack of a point of reference, their lack of understanding of ssa, their tendency to view ssa itself at an emotional level as sin and homosexual activity as a particularly egregious sin regardless of their stated theology, and their general tendency to look for simple answers to life’s complex questions. I was involved in a Church ministry that was considered “highly successful” regarding conversion for about three years but realized after much research that the ministry was reproducing the very conditions that created homosexuality for many of the male clients. They had as a rule that participants could not have any contact with anyone in the group outside the organization’s weekly meeting. This is a common but not universal rule for church ssa ministries. This was true even if the men had previously had a relationship outside the organization because for instance they were members of the same Church college group or Sunday School class. The result sent a message – you are not fully a man – not fully able to take care of yourself – not to be trusted to make your own decisions – we must “protect” you. It was precisely the message many of these men had received from their overprotective mothers who had communicated to them in subtle ways that it was bad to grow up and become a man independent of her protection and control. The second problem with this is it reproduced the second leg commonly experienced by men with ssa. The males in the group were literally unavailable. They could see a deep but artificially narrow slice of each other’s lives. They could not discuss their work or other aspects of their lives and therefore get to know one another more broadly. This along with a lack of access during the week meant these men mimicked the lack of availability of their fathers. Lastly there was a foundational theological error that lies at the root of effective and ineffective addiction work. The mind set on sin is death. The focus was set on not sining, what some have called sin management. Of course this reinforced shame and encouraged men to pretend they were doing better than they were, coming to the meetings to report “good weeks” when they were regularly acting out. This focus on not sinning, the shame it produced and the false self they were presenting to the group fed the addictive cycle and their ssa. It is no wonder the place felt so familiar to them and they stayed for years despite no impact on their ssa. The result is that men in the program who married were held up as success stories. When I finally was in small group with such a poster boy for success – who had not been able to consummate his marriage after a year – I quit the program and their recommended therapist whose emphasis like the group was just sin less. I have achieved dramatic change in my ssa attractions since then however this came from a complete paradigm shift from the need denial philosophy of these programs to a need meeting paradigm. It was not an easy linear or simple process. The most important early change was not about ssa at all but experiencing healing of childhood wounds and experiencing a loss of the religion induced shame associated with my ssa through experiencing true faith and forgiveness and by that gaining a capacity for healthy friendships. As I have continued the work the ssa seems to be resolving on its own. But it was through a well trained reparative therapist and through supportive men’s communities both osa and ssa I gained by participating in men’s weekends like Journey into Manhood and The Crucible Project. I had to learn the hard way that there are many therapists who call themselves reparative therapist who have no idea how to treat ssa but those who do can get amazing results. That at least was my experience after wasting my time with three therapists before I found the real thing. I think this rather explains the wide variety in outcomes and the rather poor results most men experience from Exodus like Church programs or therapists.

  6. Reblogged this on Commmonplace Holiness blog and commented:
    I’m reblogging this from the Spiritual Friendship site. Ron Belgau, who studies and teaches philosophy at the St. Louis University, writes about the need for the Church to be honest and truthful about the sexual orientation change. He writes: Young Christians struggling with same-sex attraction deserve to receive honest answers to their questions from Christian leaders.”

  7. Hi, I have struggled personally with the question of whether therapies which attempt to change my sexual orientation are beneficial or not. I am currently 28 and a celibate Christian minister with exclusively sexual attractions to the opposite sex. Unfortunately, the first Christian pastor I opened up to about my homosexuality (someone interviewing me for a job at the time) told me point blank that “in his experience people like me either changed and got married or fell away from God.” Later, when I was working for a church I confided in my pastor about my sexual orientation and he suggested I might consider going on a conference organised by an ex-gay ministry, but I found it a bit bewildering and scary and not very helpful. It seemed to be dominated by a view that had very clear theories about same-sex parental detachment and claimed to be able to explain exactly why I was gay but didn’t really give clear ways of how I might be “healed” (save spending rather a lot of money on therapy). At college I received counselling and prayer ministry from a very kind and caring man who tutored me, whom I still see now and then, but he always wanted to counsel me in a manner to move me towards sexual-orientation change .and “healing” through “restoring my manliness”. At times I found this too pressuring, though I appreciate his genuine and regular prayers for me, and we get on well when we see each other at college reunions and social gatherings etc. At the same time my family all hope that somehow my same-sex attractions will dissipate over time by themselves, and initially my mum hoped that they were just part of going through puberty, but now I am 28 they are not showing signs of lessening by themselves. So whilst I am not opposed to those who genuinely seek change therapy, at my present stage in life I don’t feel it is the right course for me, and usually become disilllusioned with Christians whom I ask for advice and prayer if they try to steer me down this route.

  8. To Mark,
    Those ministries that claim they can heal your sexual orientation are as reliable as those that claim they can heal you physically.
    Our calling or goal as Christians is holiness. That should be our focus, to be the most Christlike we can be in the situation we are in. The important thing is to pursue our faith and never give up on that. God may indeed heal you (I believe He can if that is His plan) and God may heal you towards only one woman ( I have met quite a few men that I believe He has done that for).
    But the overall focus is pursuing Christlikeness and all other things will fall in place.

  9. And God may not heal your sexual orientation at all. But He is sovereign, whatever may happen.
    Sorry, this should have been included in the above post.

    • Hi Steve, thanks for responding. I know that pursuing Christlikeness is the most important goal. I’m not against keeping myself open to possibility that God might choose to change me one day. I was put off by the conference I once went on where the speaker explained in what seemed to me quite a domineering way that he knew exactly what caused people to be same sex attracted, and it was all supposed to be to do with a relationship deficit with my father which could be easily fixed if I was prepared to put the work in. I felt a bit like a lab rat and it scared me. I have since had friends from church whom I have sought our prayer support from who have tried to explain the detachment theory along similar lines, and encouraged me to try therapy, but I just don’t feel this is right for me at the moment. At the moment I just want to try to live a life which is faithful to God, and see where he leads me. Mark

      • Mark H. said “in his experience people like me either changed and got married or fell away from God.”

        I can relate to this in my life, it is so untrue and discouraging at the same time because we are being told that if we don’t change our orientation we have failed, which is not true at all. Have you thought about reading ‘Washed and Waiting’ by Wesley Hill? I have found it helpful especially in terms of the realistic struggles one faces as a celibate gay Christian. His research and thoughts are quite detailed and reassuring. God bless

      • Hi Kathy, Can’t seem to reply to your post so I’ll reply to my own instead. It is indeed discouraging to be seen as a “failure” if orientation change doesn’t happen. In fairness, I think there is a difference between people that are actively seeking and praying for change and those who don’t have that desire or belief. Despite having some bad experiences from some organisations that seek to change sexual orientation through therapy, I have had more positive experiences from friends involved in those ministries who are much more kind and gentle. But twice I have had to back away from Christian counsellors from my church whom I sought initially for understanding and support but whom it became quickly apparent had an agenda of reparative therapy for me. I am still on good terms and keep in touch with one, but am quite cautious these days. p.s. I read Washed and Waiting when it first came out – it really helped me. Mark

      • Yeah Mark, I would say there are subtle nuances to change, there is an end to dependency but it’s not wholesale. Working out our salvation takes patience and commitment, so I don’t give up that prayer completely but rather ask for the renewal of my mind instead of the miracle of change. I have been enjoying your comments glad to see you here 🙂

  10. Mark: Why not look at all the Christian possibilities? Gay Christian Network has an interchange with two sides: A, which believes God blesses same sex marriages, and B, which believes God calls gay Christians to lifelong celibacy. Justin Lee for A and Ron Belgau (whose post this is) for B are both well worth reading. Not the last words, obviously, but an excellent place to start. After you sign onto “Gay Christian Network” click to “learn about GCN” then to “The Great Debate.” GCN tries to be a site for both sides; Spiritual Friendship seems a site for those who have chosen side B–to support each other in building “a positive and fulfilling –albeit at times challenging–path to holiness”. (quotation from Belgau’s post “Spiritual Friendship in 300 Words”)

    • Hi Hypatia, thanks for the resources. I have looked at some of the different views and arguments, though I haven’t come across the “side A” and “side B” terminology before. The danger is that I often find it stressful and distracting if I get too preoccupied with debate and argument. At my present stage of life I am just seeking to make friends and it is a comfort to realise that there are others who face similar problems to me, as I often feel isolated and that there is no-one I know who fully understands me. Here in the UK there is a lot of debate in the church and Christians forming into different groups or camps from ex-gays, to those who only use the language of Same-sex attraction and discourage Christians from calling themselves gay, to those who are in same-sex unions. I have friends with all these views, but it can seem very political at times. I guess there are similar groups in the US, its just that in the UK they seem a lot smaller. In my city, for example, I don’t know of any other gay ministers and very few other gay Christians (though I am fairly new here). Mark

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